For all of the methods we have that are geared towards helping people lose weight, good old-fashioned walking is still one of the best things to add onto a weight loss plan or workout program. While walking is very healthy for the body and it is absolutely helpful as supplemental exercise if you're trying to drop weight or body fat, it does not cover all of the bases. However, if you combine a walking habit with a smart workout program, you're going to drastically increase the health benefits and also see a lot better results, a lot faster.
If you're trying to lose weight, you still need to challenge your cardiovascular endurance (for health and calorie burn). Keep in mind that this is relative to your own fitness level and it doesn't have to be intimidating. Listen to your body, and move at a pace that is challenging to you specifically. The other piece of the puzzle is strength/resistance training, which is one of the best ways to lose extra weight and keep it off - it also has a very long list of health benefits that walking doesn't quite cover.
If you are trying to lose weight through walking, one of the best things that you can do to boost the chances of success for your efforts is to use a pedometer. Pedometers are extremely cheap and can go a long ways in helping you determine how many miles you walk in a day, and how many more you might need to walk in order to lose weight.
In order to find out how many miles you need to cover to drop extra pounds, you need to find out how many you are currently covering. This way, you will know by how much you need to increase your steps, or distance each day in order to be able to see a difference in the number on the scale.
For example; if you currently take 8,000 steps with your existing routine and daily habits and are maintaining weight, the number of steps that you need to increase your daily distance to lose weight is simply a matter of mathematics; increasing your mileage according to the number of calories you want to burn.
Too rainy for a walk? Try these at home cardio workout videos:
How many steps do I need to take to lose weight?
The average person has a stride that is 2.5 feet long. Using this stride length, there are roughly 2112 steps in the average person’s mile.
Each mile that a person walks burns roughly 100 calories. If a person was to commit to walking 4,500 extra steps per day, or roughly 3 extra miles, they would be burning an extra 300 calories a day (at least). Burning 300 calories each day leads to a weekly deficit of 2100 calories. After a month, that’s roughly 9000 cal burned, which equates to approximately 2.6 pounds lost. Keep it up for a year and you’re looking at over 31 pounds lost!
Accumulating those three extra miles a day could be as simple as making small changes such as parking further from the store that you’re visiting, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or pacing while you're talking on the phone. Even if you were to do the 3 miles in one fell swoop, it would only take an extra 45 minutes out of your day.
How many miles a day do YOU need to walk to lose weight?
The number of miles per day that you need to walk to lose weight really depends on your starting point. As mentioned above, it’s important to find out what your starting point is in terms of your activity level, the number of calories you’re currently burning in the day, and the distance that you are covering on average. Once you have an idea of what these figures are for your personal habits and activities, you’ll get a good idea of how many additional steps you need to take each day to see results.
Remember, it’s all a simple math equation.
Here are the basic numbers;
1 Mile = 2112 steps
1 Mile walked = 100 calories burned
1 Pound = 3500 calories
2 Pound weight loss per week = 7000 cal, or a 500 cal deficit per day
1 Pound weight loss per week just by walking = 5 extra miles walked per day - or 10,560 extra steps (in addition to the distance that you are currently covering while maintaining weight)
1 Pound weight loss per week with diet changes and walking combined = 2.5 extra miles walked per day (5280 extra steps), and 250 calories less consumed per day, for a total daily caloric deficit of 500 calories.
Again: If you are trying to lose weight, make sure that you are also doing strength training - people who are trying to lose weight often think that strength training will make them bulky or that they should wait until they lose the extra weight before they "begin to tone". In fact, the longer you avoid strength training, the longer you are putting off easier weight loss and maintenance. Strength training is absolutely essential to losing weight, keeping a fast metabolism and a healthy body, and it can be modified to challenge anyone, from beginner to advanced. Strength training is healthy for people ages 3-110; as long as the training is smart (good form is emphasized and an appropriately challenging weight is selected), the health benefits are bountiful.
If you're looking for a program that lays out exactly how to train for best results, try these:
Here are some great strength training routines to choose from that require only simple dumbbells (if you don't have equipment, you can always get creative with weights):
Also make sure that you cool down and stretch when you finish each walk. Here's one of our favorite free stretching workout videos; Goodbye Stress Calming Stretching Workout – Full Body Yoga Infused Stretching Routine
Walking is an excellent and healthy way to get fit and/or lose weight. Combine your walking habit with strength training workouts and you will be able to build muscle content, which burns calories at a higher rate than fat, even while you’re resting.